100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 19. Start A Blog

On whatever topic you want. Not only it will give you the opportunity to create something new and valuable but it will also bring new people into your life. Blogging is far more than a hype, is a personal development tool. A very good one.

Many people think a blog is just an instrument for making money. To some extent, it is. But it is also much more than that. A blog will structure information and will allow you to express it in a different way and to a wider audience.

In many ways, a blog can become your personal brand. And if you don’t know what a personal brand is, maybe it’s time to find out: a personal brand is an immaterial version of you, working for yourself even when you’re not there. And a blog can help you create that version of you faster than any other tool.

Maybe you think your life is not good enough to blog about it. Well, you’ll never find out until you really try. 

How To Start A Blog

Short version: go to a computer and start writing.

Medium version (sorry, there’s no long version).

1 Start writing

Yes, that’s compulsory, you can’t have a blog unless you write. A lot. Maintaining a blog requires an enormous amount of words coming out of you every week (if not every day). There’s a lot of discipline involved and also a lot of learning.

The good news is that you don’t need to be “a natural”. There is, of course, something called “talent”, or the ability to create vivid images and situations with ease. If you already have that, good. But if you don’t, please, do not despair. There is still hope.

You still can, by using some simple techniques, to improve your writing skills beyond your wildest expectations. There are a lot of free resources on the internet related to that. A simple Google query in the form of “writing tools” will be a good starting point. There are also forums and other resources. If you never wrote in your life, or if you think you’re not good at it, this will help in the beginning.

But after a while, as long as you keep writing, something interesting will happen: you will “find your voice”. And you won’t need advice anymore. For instance, Seth Godin writes an average of 600 words per post. Steve Pavlina goes easily between 2000-4000 words per post. Your truly has an average if 1200 words per post (which is also my hourly speed, meaning I can write between 1000 – 1200 words per minute when I’m in a distraction free environment).

You will find your own voice, but, a part from writing, there is still something you need in order to get there, and that’s feedback.

2 Connect

You can’t get feedback unless you connect with other people. If you keep your blog only for sharing personal experiences, you will end up with a public journal, not with a blog. The whole blogging thing is more complex and richer than just a basic journal. A very important part of this experience is based on interaction, on what other people are saying on, or about, your blog, on what they decide to do after they read you or how their buttons are pushed by what you share.

And by connection I don’t mean just answering the comments (if you have comments on your blog, that is). It’s more than that. It’s about reading other blogs and trying to find similar (or complementary) voices. It’s about getting involved in other blogs as a commenter. It’s about being active on social media. It’s about connecting with your readers by other media (like email, or live events).

A blog is essentially a platform, not a tool. And a very important part of this platform is connection.

3 Experiment

Now that you have the first two most important points covered, it’s time to experiment.

I find this freedom to experiment to be the most appealing part of blogging and I’m very grateful that I live in such amazing times. Only 20 or 30 years ago it was hard to imagine that you will be able to address to virtually anyone in the world by mere writing.

So, go ahead. Do all sort of crazy things. Alternate the length of your articles, alternate the days in which you post or the hours. Alternate topics (although too much of this can alienate your audience, eventually). I know I did a lot of wandering in the beginning – like eight years ago.

My first 50 articles were really bad. I can hardly read them now without the compulsive need to rewrite them (sometimes I do that). But I didn’t stop. The next 50 articles were mediocre, at best. But I didn’t stop. The next 100 were average.

And, somewhere around the article number 200, things were starting to get better. I have a few dozens of articles (out of more than 750 at the moment of writing this) that are really close to me, and that I still read with great pleasure.

4 Evaluate

Every once in a while, stop that blogging thing and evaluate. There is a world around you and it’s constantly changing. Even if you did find some magic formula that works, there’s no guarantee it will work forever.

For instance, when I started to blog, there was no Pinterest and adding images to blog posts was considered cluttering. Now, the proportion of visual information is reversed: more image and less words. They even invented a tech lingo for a blog post which doesn’t have a lot of visual in it: ‘tl,dr”, which means: “too long, didn’t read”.

So, take a step back, look at what works and at what needs improvement. Make it a habit.

5 Keep writing

And, of course, the most important thing: don’t stop. Just keep writing.

In time, you’ll get there. Somewhere.

further reading

100 Ways To Improve Your Blog

Journaling versus Blogging

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